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Outdoor Gear Reviews, Tips & Adventure Stories to Inspire an Outdoor Life

Month: March 2023

Why Outdoor Activities Should be Part of Your Self-Care Routine

gardening as self-care
Tending a garden can be a great stress-reliever.

Self-care has become an increasingly popular term in recent years, and for good reason. Taking time to prioritize your own physical, mental, and emotional well-being is essential for leading a happy and healthy life. While self-care can take many different forms, one often-overlooked aspect is the benefits of outdoors activities.

There are countless benefits to spending time in nature, from improving physical health through exercise to reducing stress and anxiety through exposure to green spaces. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll through your local park, incorporating outdoor activities into your self-care routine can have a profound impact on your overall well-being.

Michelle Kondo, a research social scientist with the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, had this to say about the effect of the outdoors on health and well-being, “The physiological response to being outside in nature is real, and it’s measurable. There are many physical and psychological benefits of nature that scientists have observed, which can better help us understand how nature supports wellness in the body, mind and community.”

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of outdoors activities and why they should be part of your self-care routine, provide ideas for outdoor self-care activities, and offer tips for overcoming common barriers to getting outside. By the end, you’ll have all the tools you need to prioritize outdoor time as a key part of your self-care routine.

Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Self-Care

mountaintop yoga
Practicing yoga outside can help you feel more connected to nature and improve your flexibility and strength.

There are numerous benefits to spending time in nature, making outdoor activities an ideal addition to your self-care routine. Here are just a few ways that getting outside can boost your physical, mental, and emotional well-being:

Improved physical health

Many outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, or even gardening, provide a great workout. Regular exercise can improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Reduced stress and improved mental health

Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, boost mood, and improve overall mental health. Exposure to green spaces has also been linked to improved cognitive function and reduced symptoms of depression.

Increased mindfulness and focus

Activities like hiking, meditation, or even simply sitting in a park can help you be more present in the moment and improve your ability to focus. This can lead to greater clarity and a more positive outlook on life.

By incorporating more of these activities into your self-care routine, you can reap these and many other benefits of outdoors activities.

Ideas for Outdoor Self-Care Activities

If you’re looking to add more outdoor activities to your self-care routine, there are countless options to choose from. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Hiking: Exploring a local trail or nature reserve is a great way to get some exercise, breathe in fresh air, and enjoy the beauty of nature.
  • Gardening: Tending to a garden, whether it’s a few potted plants on a balcony or a full-fledged vegetable garden, can be a great stress-reliever and provide a sense of accomplishment.
  • Yoga: Practicing yoga outside, whether it’s on a beach or in a park, can help you feel more connected to nature and improve your flexibility and strength.
  • Camping: Spending a night or two under the stars can be a great way to unplug from technology and immerse yourself in the great outdoors.
  • Mindful walking: Take a walk in a park or natural setting and focus on being present in the moment, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells around you.

These are just a few examples, but there are countless other outdoor activities you can try, depending on your interests and location. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy and that helps you feel more connected to nature and yourself.

Overcoming Barriers to Outdoor Self-Care

hiking as self-care
Exploring a local trail or nature reserve is a great way to get some exercise, breathe in fresh air, and enjoy the beauty of nature.

While spending time outdoors can be incredibly beneficial for your well-being, there are often barriers that can make it difficult to incorporate outdoor activities into your self-care routine. Here are a few common barriers and tips for overcoming them:

Lack of time

With busy schedules and competing priorities, finding time to get outside can be a challenge. One solution is to schedule outdoor activities into your routine, whether it’s a daily walk during lunch or a weekend hike with friends.

Weather

Extreme temperatures, rain, or snow can make it challenging to get outside. However, with the right gear and preparation, you can still enjoy outdoor activities in any weather. Consider investing in waterproof or insulated clothing, and always check the forecast before heading out.

Lack of access to nature

Living in a city or urban area can make it challenging to find green spaces. However, there are often local parks, community gardens, or even rooftop gardens that can provide a much-needed dose of nature.

Physical limitations

For those with physical limitations, such as mobility issues, getting outside may require some modifications. Look for wheelchair-accessible trails or consider activities like birdwatching or nature photography that can be enjoyed from a seated position.

By identifying and overcoming these and other barriers, you can make outdoor activities a regular part of your self-care routine and enjoy all the benefits that come with spending time in nature.

camping as self-care
Spending a night or two under the stars can be a great way to unplug from technology.

Conclusion

The benefits of outdoors activities are clear. Incorporating outdoor activities into your self-care routine can have a profound impact on your overall well-being. From improving physical health and reducing stress to increasing mindfulness and focus, spending time in nature offers numerous benefits.

While there may be barriers to getting outside, with a little planning and preparation, anyone can make outdoor activities a regular part of their self-care routine. Whether it’s hiking, gardening, or simply taking a walk in a local park, finding ways to connect with nature can help you feel more grounded, relaxed, and connected to yourself.

So the next time you’re looking for ways to prioritize your self-care, consider heading outdoors. Not only will you be taking care of your physical and mental health, but you’ll be giving yourself the gift of time spent in nature, which is truly priceless.

The Importance of Leave No Trace: Preserving the Beauty of Nature

leave no trace in the forest

The great outdoors is a source of beauty, wonder, and inspiration. Whether we’re hiking through a pristine wilderness, camping under the stars, or simply enjoying a picnic in the park, being in nature can be a deeply rewarding experience. However, with more and more people venturing into natural areas to enjoy the outdoors, it’s becoming increasingly important to consider the impact that our activities have on the environment.

That’s where Leave No Trace comes in. Leave No Trace is a set of principles designed to help people enjoy the outdoors responsibly while minimizing their impact on the environment. By following these principles, we can help preserve the natural beauty of our planet for future generations to enjoy.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of Leave No Trace and why it’s critical for preserving the beauty of nature. From minimizing our impact on the environment and wildlife to ensuring sustainability and promoting responsible outdoor recreation, Leave No Trace is an essential part of any outdoor adventure.

Leave No Trace and the Environment

Human activities, including outdoor recreation, can have a significant impact on natural areas. Without proper care and consideration, our presence in these areas can cause irreversible damage to the environment. Fortunately, Leave No Trace principles provide a framework for minimizing our impact and preserving these precious ecosystems.

Some of the ways that careless outdoor recreation can harm the environment include trampling fragile plants, disturbing soil and sediment, contaminating water sources, and leaving behind trash and litter. These actions can have devastating consequences for both the flora and fauna of an area, leading to soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, and even habitat destruction.

By following LNT principles, we can help minimize these impacts and protect the natural environment. For example, by staying on designated trails and avoiding fragile ecosystems, we can reduce the risk of damaging delicate plant life. Similarly, by packing out all trash and disposing of waste properly, we can help prevent contamination of water sources and other environmental damage.

Ultimately, by incorporating Leave No Trace principles into our outdoor activities, we can help ensure that these beautiful natural areas remain intact for future generations to enjoy.

Leave No Trace and Wildlife

leave no trace ocean
By incorporating Leave No Trace principles into our outdoor activities, we can help protect the wildlife that depends on natural areas for survival.

Outdoor recreation can have a significant impact on the wildlife that calls natural areas home. Careless behavior can disturb and even harm these animals, leading to negative impacts on their populations and ecosystems as a whole. By following Leave No Trace principles, we can help minimize our impact on wildlife and protect their habitat.

Some of the ways that careless outdoor recreation can harm wildlife include disturbing their natural behavior, destroying their habitat, and even causing direct harm, such as accidentally injuring or killing animals. For example, hiking off-trail or disturbing nesting areas can disrupt the behavior of birds and other animals, while leaving food and trash out in the open can attract animals to human areas and make them more vulnerable to harm.

By following Leave No Trace principles, we can help protect wildlife and their habitat. For example, by staying on designated trails and avoiding sensitive areas, we can reduce the risk of disturbing animals in their natural habitat. Similarly, by properly storing food and disposing of waste, we can help reduce the risk of attracting animals to human areas and causing harm.

Ultimately, by incorporating Leave No Trace principles into our outdoor activities, we can help protect the wildlife that depends on natural areas for survival and help ensure that these areas remain intact for future generations to enjoy.

Leave No Trace and Future Generations

One of the core principles of Leave No Trace is to leave natural areas better than we found them. By doing so, we can help ensure that these beautiful places remain intact for future generations to enjoy. By incorporating Leave No Trace principles into our outdoor activities, we can help create a sustainable future for ourselves and our children.

The impact of human activities on natural areas is becoming increasingly evident. From climate change to habitat destruction, the negative impacts of our actions are being felt by ecosystems around the world. By following Leave No Trace principles, we can help reduce our impact on the environment and promote responsible outdoor recreation.

One of the ways that LNT helps create a sustainable future is by promoting the responsible use of natural areas. By minimizing our impact on the environment and wildlife, we can help ensure that these areas remain intact for future generations to enjoy. Additionally, by practicing sustainable habits such as packing out all trash and minimizing our use of non-renewable resources, we can help reduce our impact on the environment and promote a more sustainable future.

Ultimately, by incorporating Leave No Trace principles into our outdoor activities, we can help create a better future for ourselves and for future generations. By preserving natural areas, protecting wildlife, and promoting responsible outdoor recreation, we can help ensure that these beautiful places remain intact for generations to come.

Leave No Trace and Responsible Outdoor Recreation

leave no trace sign
Pack it in. Pack it out. By being mindful of our impact, we can help ensure that natural areas remain intact for future generations to enjoy.

Outdoor recreation can be a wonderful way to connect with nature and experience the beauty of the natural world. However, it’s important to approach these activities with responsibility and care. Leave No Trace principles provide a framework for responsible outdoor recreation, helping us minimize our impact on the environment and wildlife.

One of the ways that Leave No Trace promotes responsible outdoor recreation is by emphasizing the importance of planning ahead and preparing for our activities. This includes researching the area we plan to visit, understanding the rules and regulations, and being prepared with the necessary equipment and supplies.

Additionally, Leave No Trace encourages us to be mindful of our impact on the environment and wildlife. This includes staying on designated trails, avoiding sensitive areas, properly disposing of waste, and minimizing our use of non-renewable resources. By being mindful of our impact, we can help ensure that these beautiful natural areas remain intact for future generations to enjoy.

Finally, Leave No Trace promotes a culture of responsible outdoor recreation. By modeling responsible behavior and encouraging others to do the same, we can help create a community of outdoor enthusiasts who prioritize the health and sustainability of natural areas.

Ultimately, by incorporating Leave No Trace principles into our outdoor activities, we can enjoy the beauty of the natural world while minimizing our impact on the environment and wildlife. By promoting responsible outdoor recreation, we can help ensure that these beautiful places remain intact for future generations to enjoy.

Interested in learning about how you can use the bathroom more responsibly while exploring the outdoors? Read “How to Poop Properly…While Camping“.

Conclusion

Leave No Trace is an essential part of responsible outdoor recreation. By following the principles of Leave No Trace, we can help minimize our impact on the environment and wildlife, and ensure that these beautiful natural areas remain intact for future generations to enjoy.

Whether we are hiking, camping, or simply enjoying a day in the park, it’s important to approach these activities with responsibility and care. By planning ahead, being mindful of our impact, and promoting a culture of responsible outdoor recreation, we can help create a sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.

So next time you head outdoors, remember to practice Leave No Trace principles. Whether you’re packing out all trash, staying on designated trails, or minimizing your use of non-renewable resources, every small action counts. By working together, we can help protect the natural world and create a better future for ourselves and for future generations.

For more information on the principle of Leave No Trace, visit the Leave No Trace website to learn how you can get more involved in the movement.

Disconnect to Reconnect: 10 Reasons Why Camping is So Much Fun

why camping is so much fun

In today’s world, we are constantly surrounded by technology. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other devices have become integral parts of our daily lives, making it difficult to disconnect and enjoy the simple things in life. That’s why camping is such a great option for anyone looking to unplug and reconnect with nature, themselves, and loved ones.

Camping provides a unique opportunity to escape the busy city life, immerse oneself in nature, and create unforgettable memories with family and friends. It offers a chance to disconnect from technology and appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Whether it’s hiking, fishing, or simply sitting by the campfire and enjoying the company of others, camping provides a wide range of activities that can be tailored to suit anyone’s interests.

In this article, we’ll explore 10 reasons why camping is so much fun and why it’s important to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. From connecting with nature and escaping the busy life to stargazing and enjoying delicious campfire food, we’ll discuss the many benefits of camping and how it can help us slow down, appreciate the present moment, and find happiness in the simple things. So let’s get started and discover why camping is such a great way to disconnect and reconnect!

Reason #1: Connecting with Nature

connecting with nature
When we go camping, we have the chance to slow down, breathe in the fresh air, and immerse ourselves in the natural world.

One of the biggest draws of camping is the opportunity to connect with nature. Whether you’re hiking through a forest, swimming in a lake, or sleeping under the stars, camping allows you to experience the beauty and serenity of the great outdoors.

In our fast-paced lives, it’s easy to forget the beauty and importance of nature. We get so caught up in our work, social media, and other distractions that we forget to take a step back and appreciate the world around us. But when we go camping, we have the chance to slow down, breathe in the fresh air, and immerse ourselves in the natural world.

Camping also allows us to disconnect from technology and embrace the simplicity of nature. Instead of staring at a screen all day, we can look up and admire the beauty of the sky, the trees, and the wildlife around us. This can help us feel more grounded and connected to the world, which can have a positive impact on our mental health and overall well-being.

In addition to providing a sense of peace and tranquility, connecting with nature through camping can also be educational. We can learn about the plants and animals in the area, observe the way they interact with their environment, and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the natural world.

Overall, connecting with nature through camping is a powerful experience that can help us disconnect from our busy lives and reconnect with the world around us. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or new to the activity, there’s something special about spending time in nature and discovering all it has to offer.

Reason #2: Escaping the Busy Life

escaping the busy life
By escaping the busy life through camping, we can gain a new perspective on our priorities and goals.

In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with stimuli. Between work, social media, and other distractions, it can be challenging to find a moment of peace and quiet. That’s why camping is such a great option for anyone looking to escape the busy life and recharge their batteries.

Camping allows us to disconnect from technology and all the distractions of modern life. Instead of checking emails or scrolling through social media, we can spend our time hiking, fishing, or simply enjoying the peace and quiet of nature. This can be incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating, and can help us return to our daily lives with a renewed sense of energy and focus.

In addition to providing a break from technology, camping can also help us disconnect from our daily routines and obligations. When we’re camping, we don’t have to worry about deadlines, meetings, or other responsibilities. We can simply focus on enjoying the moment and being present with our loved ones.

By escaping the busy life through camping, we can also gain a new perspective on our priorities and goals. When we’re removed from the stresses and distractions of daily life, we have the space to reflect on what really matters to us and make meaningful changes in our lives.

Overall, camping is a great way to escape the busy life and find a moment of peace and quiet. Whether you’re looking to recharge your batteries, gain a new perspective, or simply enjoy the beauty of nature, camping can provide a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Reason #3: Quality Time with Loved Ones

quality camping time with loved ones
Camping offers a unique opportunity to bond over shared experiences and create lasting memories.

One of the most significant benefits of camping is the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones. In our busy lives, it can be challenging to find time to connect with family and friends, but camping offers a unique opportunity to bond over shared experiences and create lasting memories.

Camping allows us to unplug from technology and distractions and focus on spending time with our loved ones. Whether it’s sitting around the campfire, sharing meals, or exploring nature together, camping provides an opportunity to disconnect from the stresses of daily life and connect with the people who matter most.

For families with children, camping can be an especially valuable experience. It provides a chance for kids to unplug from technology and engage in outdoor activities, such as hiking and fishing. It also offers an opportunity for parents to model healthy habits, such as spending time outdoors and being active.

Camping also allows for shared experiences and memories that can bring families and friends closer together. From learning to build a fire to stargazing at night, the activities and adventures that come with camping create a unique bond that can last a lifetime.

In today’s busy world, taking the time to connect with loved ones is more important than ever. Camping provides a fun and meaningful way to do so while also enjoying the beauty and serenity of the outdoors.

Reason #4: Adventure and Exploration

adventure and exploration
Camping provides the perfect opportunity for adventure and exploration.

Camping is an excellent opportunity for adventure and exploration. Whether you’re hiking through the woods, kayaking down a river, or climbing a mountain, camping provides endless possibilities for outdoor activities and adventure.

Exploring the outdoors can also provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. There’s nothing quite like reaching the summit of a mountain after a challenging climb or discovering a hidden waterfall after a long hike.

Camping can also offer the chance to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Maybe you’ve never gone fishing before or have always wanted to try rock climbing. Camping provides an opportunity to try these new activities in a safe and supportive environment.

Furthermore, camping can be an adventure in itself. Setting up camp, cooking meals over a fire, and sleeping under the stars can all be exciting and novel experiences, even if you’ve done them before. It can be a chance to disconnect from the familiar routines of daily life and try something new.

Ultimately, camping provides the perfect opportunity for adventure and exploration. With so many outdoor activities to choose from, there’s always something new to try and discover. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or just looking for a new way to spend time outdoors, camping is sure to offer an unforgettable experience.

Reason #5: Delicious Campfire Food

Delicious Campfire Food
Cooking over an open fire or camping stove provides a unique and delicious experience that simply can’t be replicated in a traditional kitchen.

One of the best parts of camping is undoubtedly the food. Cooking over an open fire or camping stove provides a unique and delicious experience that simply can’t be replicated in a traditional kitchen.

From classic s’mores to hearty stews and grilled meats, campfire cooking offers a wide range of culinary delights. There’s something special about the taste of food cooked over an open flame, and the experience of preparing and sharing meals in the great outdoors can make even the most basic dishes feel gourmet.

Camping also provides an opportunity to try new recipes and cooking techniques. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try making your own pizza from scratch or cooking fish you just caught from the river. Camping offers a chance to experiment and get creative with your cooking, all while enjoying the beautiful scenery and fresh air.

In addition to the food itself, campfire cooking also offers a chance to slow down and enjoy the process of cooking. There’s no need to rush through meal prep or worry about the latest culinary trends when you’re camping. Instead, you can take your time and savor each step of the cooking process, from gathering firewood to chopping vegetables.

Overall, delicious campfire food is a significant part of the camping experience. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out, the opportunities for culinary creativity and outdoor dining are endless. So next time you’re planning a camping trip, don’t forget to pack the ingredients for some delicious campfire meals.

Looking for recipes for your next camping trip? Check out these easy camping meals that make camp cooking a breeze.

Reason #6: Peace and Quiet

Camping peace & Quiet
Camping offers a chance to unplug from technology, escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and simply enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature.

In today’s fast-paced world, finding moments of peace and quiet can be a challenge. Between work, social obligations, and endless notifications from our digital devices, it can feel like we’re always on the go.

That’s why camping can be such a refreshing experience. It’s a chance to unplug from technology, escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and simply enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature.

Whether you’re listening to the sound of a babbling brook or gazing up at the stars on a clear night, camping provides plenty of opportunities to connect with the natural world and find moments of peace and solitude. The lack of artificial noise and distractions can also help improve your mental health and reduce stress.

Furthermore, being surrounded by nature can offer a unique sense of perspective and mindfulness. When you’re camping, you have a chance to slow down and appreciate the present moment, taking in the sights, sounds, and sensations around you. This kind of mindfulness can help you feel more grounded and connected to the world around you.

Overall, camping can provide a much-needed break from the noise and chaos of modern life. Whether you’re seeking a moment of solitude or a chance to connect with loved ones, the peace and quiet of the great outdoors can be a powerful antidote to the stresses of everyday life.

Reason #7: Stargazing

Camping Stargazing
Far away from the light pollution of cities and towns, the stars shine brighter and the constellations are more visible.

One of the most magical aspects of camping is the opportunity to witness the night sky in all its glory. Far away from the light pollution of cities and towns, the stars shine brighter and the constellations are more visible.

Stargazing can be a humbling and awe-inspiring experience, reminding us of the vastness of the universe and our place in it. It can also be a romantic and intimate experience, as you share the beauty of the night sky with a loved one.

In addition to stars, camping also offers the chance to see other celestial wonders, such as shooting stars, the Milky Way, and even the occasional comet or meteor shower. With a little bit of planning and research, you can time your camping trip to coincide with one of these cosmic events.

Stargazing can also be a great educational opportunity, especially for kids. You can teach them about the constellations, planets, and other celestial phenomena, helping them develop an appreciation for science and nature.

Whether you’re an amateur astronomer or simply appreciate the beauty of the night sky, camping provides an ideal setting for stargazing. So don’t forget to bring a blanket and a telescope, and spend a few hours marveling at the wonders of the cosmos.

Reason #8: Campfire Conversations

campfire conversations
Camping invites deep conversations about life, love, and the universe, or silly conversations about nothing in particular.

Camping provides the perfect opportunity to disconnect from technology and distractions and connect with the people around you. And there’s no better place to do that than around a campfire.

Campfire conversations are a special kind of conversation that happen in the glow of flickering flames, with the sounds of nature all around you. Whether you’re sharing stories, telling jokes, or simply enjoying each other’s company in comfortable silence, campfire conversations can create lasting memories and strengthen bonds.

The absence of screens and notifications allows you to be fully present in the moment and engage with the people around you. You can have deep conversations about life, love, and the universe, or silly conversations about nothing in particular. Either way, the crackling fire and starry sky provide the perfect backdrop for meaningful connections.

Campfire conversations also provide a sense of community and belonging. When you gather around a campfire with fellow campers, you become part of a shared experience that transcends individual differences and backgrounds. You may come as strangers, but by the end of the night, you’ll feel like lifelong friends.

So next time you’re camping, don’t just focus on the activities and adventures. Take the time to sit around the campfire and connect with the people around you. You’ll be amazed at the conversations and connections that can emerge from a simple flame.

Reason #9: Simple Pleasures

camping simple pleasures
One of the best things about camping is the lack of distractions.

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be easy to forget the simple pleasures in life. Camping is a great way to slow down and appreciate the little things. From the sound of a babbling stream to the feel of soft grass under your feet, camping allows you to fully immerse yourself in the present moment and enjoy the simple pleasures of nature.

One of the best things about camping is the lack of distractions. Without the constant barrage of emails, social media notifications, and other daily demands, you can focus on the things that truly matter. You can spend hours watching the sunset, listening to birdsong, or reading a book under a shady tree. These simple activities can bring so much joy and relaxation.

Camping also encourages a sense of self-sufficiency and resourcefulness. Without the comforts of home, you learn to appreciate the simple pleasures of a warm meal cooked over a campfire, a comfortable sleeping bag, or a refreshing dip in a nearby lake. These small luxuries take on a new meaning when you’re out in the wilderness.

Perhaps the greatest simple pleasure of camping is the feeling of being connected to something greater than yourself. When you’re surrounded by the majesty of nature, you realize how small you are in the grand scheme of things. This can be humbling, but also incredibly liberating. You don’t need a fancy car or designer clothes to be happy; all you need is a sense of wonder and appreciation for the beauty around you.

So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of modern life, consider taking a camping trip. Allow yourself to slow down and appreciate the simple pleasures of nature. You may be surprised at how much joy and fulfillment you can find in the quiet moments.

Reason #10: Trying Something New and Unplugging from Technology

unplugging from technology while camping
Camping offers a chance to unplug from screens and reconnect with the natural world.

Camping is a great opportunity to try something new and step out of your comfort zone. Whether you’re setting up a tent for the first time, starting a campfire, or going on a challenging hike, camping provides a chance to push yourself and grow.

In today’s digital age, we are constantly connected to technology, which can be overwhelming and draining. Camping offers a chance to unplug from screens and reconnect with the natural world. Without the distraction of social media and emails, you can fully immerse yourself in the present moment and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.

Trying something new and unplugging from technology can also help improve your mental health. According to a study by the University of Essex, spending time in nature can improve mood, reduce stress, and boost self-esteem. By stepping away from technology and engaging with the natural world, you can gain a greater sense of perspective and find a renewed sense of calm.

In addition to the mental health benefits, trying something new and unplugging from technology can be a lot of fun. Whether you’re learning a new outdoor skill or simply enjoying the peace and quiet, camping provides a chance to disconnect from the outside world and connect with yourself and loved ones.

Conclusion

Camping is a wonderful way to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the natural world. From the beauty of the great outdoors to the simple pleasures of campfire conversations and stargazing, there are countless reasons why camping is so much fun.

At its core, camping is about taking a break from the stresses of modern life and enjoying the present moment. Whether you’re hiking through a scenic mountain trail or roasting marshmallows over a campfire, camping allows you to slow down, appreciate the little things, and connect with loved ones.

Of course, camping also comes with responsibilities. It’s important to practice Leave No Trace principles and be mindful of your impact on the environment. But with a little planning and preparation, anyone can enjoy the magic of camping.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, consider disconnecting to reconnect with nature. A camping trip may be just what you need to find joy, relaxation, and adventure in the great outdoors.

Interested in camping, but not sure where to start? Read our Camping for Beginner’s Guide to discover the best way to get outdoors.

Paddle Your Way to Adventure: Where to Go Stand Up Paddleboarding

Where to go Stand Up Paddleboarding

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is a popular water sport that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. It’s a fun and exciting way to explore the water while getting a full-body workout. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, there’s a SUP destination out there for everyone.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best places to go stand up paddleboarding. From serene lakes to rushing rivers to beautiful coastal areas, we’ll highlight some of the most scenic and exciting locations for SUP. Additionally, we’ll provide some tips for choosing a destination and staying safe while out on the water.

So grab your paddle and let’s dive in!

Best Places for SUP

When it comes to stand up paddleboarding, there are plenty of destinations to choose from. Here are some of the best places to go for an unforgettable SUP experience:

Lakes
Where to go stand Up Paddleboarding
Lakes typically offer calm water that is great for both beginners and experienced SUPers alike

Lakes typically offer calm water that is great for both beginners and experienced SUPers alike. Exploring the shoreline or paddling the length of a lake are incredible ways to experience these bodies of water. With no currents or waves, lakes provide a more laid-back paddleboard experience.  Fishing, yoga, or dog passengers are all possible while stand up paddleboarding on a lake.

Here are a few of the best lakes to SUP:

  • Lake Tahoe, California
  • Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah
  • Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Rivers

Rivers present the challenge of moving water to SUPers.  With a good flow of water beneath you, rivers allow stand up paddleboarders to move down river without even paddling if they choose. Strong currents can affect stability and can make it difficult to paddle upstream.  Be careful of shallow areas and rocks in smaller rivers.  Overall, most rivers are best suited for intermediate and advanced stand up paddleboarders.

Here are a few of the best rivers to SUP:

  • Snake River, Wyoming
  • Deschutes River, Oregon
  • Colorado River, Arizona
Coastal areas

Coastal areas can present diverse opportunities for stand up paddleboarding.  Beaches and shorelines offer amazing SUP experiences to paddle just beyond the break of waves.  The ride out through the waves can be tricky, but once calmers waters are reached, paddleboarding along the coastline is a unique adventure. Bays, coves, and marinas can provide protection from the wind and waves leading to calmer waters to explore.

Here are a few of the best coastal areas to SUP:

  • Maui, Hawaii
  • Santa Barbara, California
  • Gulf Shores, Alabama

Each of these destinations offers a unique experience, from the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe to the rugged coastlines of Maui. While some locations may be more challenging than others, there’s a destination for all skill levels. When identifying an SUP location to fit your skill level, stability should be your first concern.  If you are new to SUPing and still finding your balance, stick to the calmer waters of lakes and protected coastal areas.

How to Choose a SUP Destination

Where to go stand up paddleboarding
Strong river currents can affect stability and can make it difficult to paddle upstream.

Choosing the right destination for your stand up paddleboarding adventure can make all the difference. Here are some factors to consider when deciding where to go:

Water Conditions
  • Consider the type of water you prefer to paddle in (e.g., calm lakes vs. rough ocean waves).
  • Check weather and water conditions beforehand to ensure it’s safe to paddle.
  • Make sure to wear clothing that matches your skill level and the water conditions.  Beginners get wet more often than experienced SUPers.
Scenery and Wildlife
  • Do you prefer a peaceful, natural setting or a more urban one?
  • Are there any unique features or wildlife you’d like to see?
Amenities and Accommodations
  • Consider whether there are public restrooms, parking, and picnic areas available.
  • Look for nearby accommodations if you plan to stay overnight.
Accessibility and Parking
  • Look for easy access to the water, such as boat ramps or docks.
  • Consider parking availability and costs.

Researching potential locations and asking locals for recommendations can also be helpful.

Planning ahead is key to ensuring a successful SUP trip. Once you’ve chosen your destination, make sure to bring appropriate equipment and attire, including a personal floatation device, leash, and proper clothing.

Remember to always practice safety guidelines, such as checking weather and water conditions before heading out, and avoiding paddling alone in unfamiliar waters.

Safety Tips for SUP

Where to go stand up paddleboarding
In coastal areas, bays, coves, and marinas can provide protection from the wind and waves leading to calmer waters to explore.

While stand up paddleboarding can be a fun and exciting activity, it’s important to practice safety guidelines to avoid accidents and injuries. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Proper Equipment and Attire
  • Always wear a personal floatation device (PFD) and use a leash to keep your board attached to you.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the weather and water conditions, such as a wetsuit or drysuit in cold water.
Check Weather and Water Conditions
  • Check weather forecasts and water conditions before heading out.
  • Avoid paddling in severe weather conditions or strong currents.
Buddy System and Guided Tours
  • Never paddle alone. Always bring a friend or join a guided tour.
  • Be sure to let someone know your itinerary and expected return time.
Be Aware of Surroundings
  • Watch out for other watercraft, swimmers, and wildlife.
  • Be mindful of hazards such as rocks, logs, and submerged objects.
Practice Self-Rescue Techniques
  • Learn self-rescue techniques such as how to climb back onto your board.
  • Carry a whistle or other signaling device in case of emergency.

By following these safety tips, you can enjoy your SUP adventure with peace of mind. Remember to always prioritize safety and be prepared for unexpected situations.


Stand up paddleboarding is a great way to explore the water and stay active. From serene lakes to rushing rivers to beautiful coastal areas, there are plenty of destinations to choose from for your next SUP adventure.

When choosing a destination, consider factors such as water conditions, scenery, amenities, and accessibility. Always prioritize safety by wearing proper equipment, checking weather and water conditions, and practicing self-rescue techniques.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, there’s a SUP destination out there for everyone. So grab your paddle, choose a destination, and paddle your way to adventure!


Don’t have a Stand Up Paddleboard? Below are some of the best-selling inflatable SUPs on Amazon:

Don’t Freeze on Your Next Camping Trip: How Many Tent Heaters Do You Need?

Buddy Tent Heater

When you’re camping, staying warm is crucial to your comfort, safety, and overall enjoyment of the trip. Whether you’re camping in the mountains or the desert, temperatures can drop significantly at night, making it difficult to sleep or even stay awake. This is where tent heaters come in handy – they can provide warmth and comfort, and help you get a good night’s rest, so you can wake up refreshed and ready to explore.

However, choosing the right number of tent heaters can be challenging, especially if you’re not familiar with the different types of heaters and their features. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of determining how many tent heaters you need for your next camping trip. We’ll explore the various factors you should consider when choosing heaters, and provide tips on how to stay warm and safe while camping. So, let’s get started!

Factors to consider when choosing tent heaters

Before you choose a tent heater, it’s important to consider several factors that can affect the effectiveness and safety of the heater. These include:

Tent size and shape

The size and shape of your tent will affect the amount of heat that’s needed to warm it up. A larger tent will require more heat than a smaller one, while a tent with high ceilings will need more heat than one with lower ceilings.

Weather conditions

The weather conditions you’ll be camping in will also affect your heater needs. If you’ll be camping in colder temperatures or in windy conditions, you may need a heater with a higher BTU rating.

Insulation and ventilation

The insulation and ventilation of your tent can affect the efficiency of your heater. A well-insulated tent will retain heat better, while proper ventilation will prevent condensation and reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Personal preferences and needs

Finally, your personal preferences and needs will also play a role in your heater choice. For example, you may prefer a certain type of heater, such as an electric heater over a propane heater, or you may have specific requirements, such as a heater that’s quiet or easy to set up.

By considering these factors, you can choose a tent heater that’s appropriate for your specific camping needs, ensuring that you stay warm, comfortable, and safe throughout your trip.

Calculating the number of tent heaters needed

To determine how many tent heaters you need, you’ll need to consider several factors, including the recommended BTUs per tent size, weather conditions, and other factors that affect your heater needs.

Here’s a breakdown of how to calculate the number of heaters needed:

Recommended BTUs per tent size

The recommended BTUs per tent size can vary depending on the source, but generally, a rule of thumb is that 2,500 BTUs of heating power will heat 600 cubic feet (length x width x height) of tent space 30 degrees.

To calculate how many BTUs you need, use this formula: tent volume (length x width x height) x temperature difference (current outside air temperature – desired inside temperature) x 0.133 = required BTU/hour.

For example, a 10x10x6 tent (600 cubic feet) would need a heater with 2,500 BTUs of heating power to raise the temperature inside the tent 30 degrees.

Adjusting BTU requirements based on weather conditions

The recommended BTUs can be adjusted based on the weather conditions you’ll be camping in. For example, if you’ll be camping in temperatures below freezing, you may need to add 20% to 30% to the recommended BTUs. If you’ll be camping in windy conditions, you may need to add another 10% to 20%.

Considering multiple smaller heaters vs. one larger heater

You may also want to consider whether to use multiple smaller heaters or one larger heater. Multiple smaller heaters can be more effective at evenly distributing heat throughout the tent, while a larger heater may be more convenient to set up and use.

Other factors to consider when calculating the number of heaters needed

Other factors to consider include your personal preferences and needs, such as the type of heater you prefer, the noise level, and the ease of use.

By taking these factors into account, you can calculate the number of tent heaters you need for your camping trip, ensuring that you have enough heat to stay warm and comfortable throughout your adventure.

Types of tent heaters and their pros and cons

When choosing a tent heater, you’ll also need to consider the different types of heaters available, each with their own pros and cons. Here are some of the most common types of tent heaters:

Propane heaters

Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Propane HeaterPropane heaters are popular among campers because they’re portable and can provide a lot of heat quickly. They’re also relatively inexpensive to operate, as propane is cheaper than electricity. However, propane heaters can be dangerous if not used properly, and they require proper ventilation to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide.

A popular propane tent heater is the Mr. Heater Buddy Portable Propane Heater. The Buddy is a 9,000 BTU heater that uses small 1lb propane bottles. It’s a popular choice due to its simplicity and flexibility.

Electric heaters

Isiler 1500W portable electric tent heaterElectric heaters are a safer option than propane heaters, as they don’t produce carbon monoxide. They’re also quieter and more efficient than propane heaters, as they don’t require fuel tanks or constant refilling. However, electric heaters require access to electricity, which may not be available in remote camping locations.

The Isiler 1500W Ceramic Indoor Space Heater is a popular example of an electric heater that can be used to heat your tent. It’s expensive and has tip-over protection – if it gets knocked over while in your tent, it will shut off automatically.

Catalytic heaters

Camco Olympian RV Wave-3 LP Gas Catalytic Safety HeaterCatalytic heaters are a type of propane heater that uses a chemical reaction to produce heat. They’re generally safe and efficient, as they don’t produce open flames or carbon monoxide. However, they’re not as powerful as other types of heaters and may not be suitable for very cold temperatures.

Camco’s Olympian RV Wave-3 is a portable catalytic heater that uses propane to efficiently and safely heat your space.

Wood-burning stoves

Wood-burning stoves are a popular option for winter camping, as they can provide a lot of heat and create a cozy atmosphere. They also don’t require access to electricity or fuel, as they burn wood. However, wood-burning stoves can be heavy and difficult to transport, and they require a lot of effort to set up and maintain.

By understanding the pros and cons of each type of tent heater, you can choose the one that’s best suited to your camping needs and preferences. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take proper safety precautions when using any type of heater in your tent.

Safety considerations

When using a tent heater, safety should always be your top priority. Here are some safety considerations to keep in mind:

Proper ventilation

Whether you’re using a propane or electric heater, you’ll need to ensure that your tent is properly ventilated to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide. This means leaving a window or vent open and avoiding completely sealing the tent.

Placement of the heater

You’ll also need to be careful about where you place your heater. It should be placed on a stable surface away from any flammable materials, such as clothing, bedding, or the tent walls. Never leave a heater unattended, and always turn it off when you’re sleeping or leaving the tent.

Fire safety

In addition to proper placement, it’s important to have fire safety equipment on hand, such as a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water. You should also avoid smoking inside the tent or using any open flames.

Emergency plans

It’s a good idea to have an emergency plan in place in case something goes wrong with the heater or there’s a sudden change in weather conditions. Make sure you have a way to contact emergency services and a backup plan for staying warm if the heater malfunctions or runs out of fuel.

By following these safety considerations, you can ensure that your camping trip stays safe and enjoyable, without any accidents or emergencies caused by your tent heater.

Tips for maximizing heat and minimizing energy usage

Once you’ve chosen the right tent heater and taken all necessary safety precautions, you’ll want to maximize its effectiveness and minimize its energy usage. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

Insulate your tent

Insulating your tent with blankets, sleeping bags, or foam pads can help to trap heat inside and prevent it from escaping through the walls or floor.

Use a tent with a smaller capacity

Choosing a smaller tent can help to reduce the amount of space that needs to be heated, which can in turn reduce the amount of energy used.

Layer up

Dressing in layers and wearing warm clothing can help to keep you warm and reduce the need for the heater to work as hard.

Use a reflective blanket

Placing a reflective blanket over your tent can help to reflect heat back into the tent, rather than letting it escape.

Use a timer

Setting a timer on your heater can help to regulate its usage and prevent it from running unnecessarily, which can save energy and fuel.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your tent heater is working efficiently and effectively and that you’re staying warm without using excessive energy.

Conclusion

Camping in cold weather can be a great way to enjoy the great outdoors, but it’s important to stay warm and safe while doing so. Choosing the right tent heater and using it correctly can make all the difference. By considering the factors we discussed, calculating the number of heaters needed, and taking safety precautions, you can ensure a comfortable and safe camping trip.

Remember to choose the right type of tent heater for your needs, consider the size of your tent and how many people will be using it, and take steps to maximize heat and minimize energy usage. And above all, always prioritize safety when using a tent heater.

By following these guidelines and using your tent heater responsibly, you can have a great camping trip even in cold weather. Stay warm and stay safe!

The Birth of Seafaring: Uncovering the Roots of Sailing

when was sailing invented
While the basic principles of sailing have remained largely unchanged for thousands of years, modern sailboats are to be faster and more efficient than their ancient counterparts.

The history of human civilization is intertwined with the history of sailing. For thousands of years, humans have been using the power of the wind to explore new lands, expand trade networks, and establish empires. From the earliest rafts made of reeds to the sleek racing yachts of today, sailing has undergone many changes and adaptations, yet its basic principles remain the same.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the birth of seafaring and the roots of sailing. We will examine the earliest evidence of human navigation and the development of watercrafts, the invention of the sail, and the spread of sailing technology. We will also explore ancient sailing techniques and their impact on human civilization, as well as the evolution of sailing in modern times. Join us on a journey through time as we uncover the fascinating history of sailing and its enduring legacy.

The Origins of Seafaring

The origins of seafaring can be traced back to the earliest times of human history. While experts are unsure exactly when sailing was invented, archaeological evidence suggests that humans have been using boats to travel across bodies of water for at least 50,000 years. Some of the earliest vessels were simple rafts made of reeds or logs, while others were dugout canoes carved from tree trunks.

As humans became more skilled at making boats, they were able to venture further out to sea and explore new lands. The development of fishing techniques and the discovery of new resources in the water, such as shells and pearls, also played a role in the growth of seafaring.

Seafaring was particularly important in regions with extensive coastlines, such as the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, and the Pacific Islands. In these areas, seafaring became a way of life, enabling humans to travel, trade, and exchange ideas with other cultures.

The significance of seafaring for human civilization cannot be overstated. Without seafaring, many of the world’s greatest empires would not have risen to power, and the exchange of goods and ideas across continents would have been severely limited. The origins of seafaring represent a crucial moment in human history, marking the beginning of a new era of exploration and discovery.

The Birth of Sailing

Greek Trireme Sailboat
The Greeks used triremes to explore the Mediterranean Sea

The invention of the sail revolutionized seafaring and enabled humans to travel further and faster across the seas. The origins of the sail can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where reed boats were equipped with simple sails made of woven flax. These sails were rectangular in shape and were attached to a single mast. The sails were angled to catch the wind, and the boat could be steered by adjusting the sail’s position.

The use of sails spread rapidly throughout the ancient world. In Mesopotamia, ships were equipped with square sails made of woven wool or linen. In the Mediterranean, the Greeks and Phoenicians developed sophisticated triremes and galleys that were equipped with multiple sails and banks of oars.

Sailing technology continued to evolve over time. The development of the lateen sail, which was triangular in shape and allowed boats to sail closer to the wind, was a major innovation. The Vikings, in particular, were skilled sailors who used a combination of square and lateen sails to travel long distances across the North Atlantic.

Ship with lateen sails
The triangular lateen sail allowed ancient boats to sail close to the wind.

The invention of the sail had a profound impact on human civilization. It made long-distance trade and exploration possible, and it allowed cultures to exchange goods and ideas across vast distances. It also enabled the rise of great empires, such as those of the Greeks and the Romans, who used their naval power to expand their territories and influence.

The birth of sailing represents a critical moment in human history, marking the beginning of a new era of maritime exploration and innovation.

Ancient Sailing Techniques

ancient compass
The invention of the compass made it possible to determine a heading when the sky was overcast or foggy, and when landmarks were not in sight.

Ancient sailors developed a range of techniques to navigate the seas and harness the power of the wind. One of the most important techniques was celestial navigation, which involved using the stars to determine the position of the ship. This technique was first developed by the Phoenicians in the Mediterranean and was later refined by the Greeks and the Romans.

Another important technique was the use of the compass. While the first magnetic compasses were invented in China during the Han dynasty, they were not widely used in the West until the Middle Ages. Prior to the invention of the compass, sailors used a variety of other methods to determine their position, including the position of the sun and the stars, the direction of the wind, and the behavior of birds and marine life.

Sailing sextant
A sextant allowed sailors to calculate a position line on a nautical chart by measuring the angular distance between two visible objects.

Sailors also developed a range of tactics for navigating different wind conditions. For example, when sailing upwind, sailors would tack back and forth, zigzagging their way towards their destination. When sailing downwind, sailors would use a technique called running before the wind, where they would steer the ship downwind and adjust the sail to catch as much wind as possible.

In addition to these techniques, ancient sailors also developed a range of tools and instruments to aid in navigation. These included the astrolabe, a device used to measure the altitude of the stars; the sextant, a device used to measure the angle between the horizon and the sun or stars; and the cross-staff, a device used to measure the height of a distant object, such as a landmark or another ship.

The development of these techniques and tools was critical to the success of ancient seafaring. By mastering the art of navigation and harnessing the power of the wind, ancient sailors were able to explore new lands, trade with other cultures, and establish great empires.

The Impact of Sailing on Human Civilization

Human civilization was profoundly impacted by the invention of sailing. It allowed humans to travel further and faster across the seas, opening up new trade routes and enabling the exchange of goods and ideas between different cultures. This had a significant impact on the development of human civilization, facilitating the spread of technology, language, and religion.

Phoenician Alphabet stone
An example of the Phoenician alphabet used to keep records of trade transactions

The development of seafaring also had a major impact on the economy. The ability to transport goods over long distances by sea allowed merchants to trade goods at a much larger scale than was previously possible. This led to the growth of cities and the emergence of powerful trading empires such as the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans.

In addition to facilitating trade and commerce, sailing also played a critical role in the spread of ideas and knowledge. The Phoenicians, for example, are believed to have developed the first alphabet, which they used to keep records of their trade transactions. This alphabet was later adopted by the Greeks and Romans, and became the basis for many modern alphabets.

Sailing also played a significant role in exploration and the expansion of human knowledge. The voyages of explorers such as Marco Polo, Vasco da Gama, and Christopher Columbus opened up new trade routes and led to the discovery of new lands, cultures, and natural resources.

In addition to its economic and cultural impact, sailing also had a significant impact on warfare. Naval power played a critical role in many of the great conflicts of human history, from the battles of ancient Greece and Rome to the naval battles of World War II.

In conclusion, the invention of sailing had a far-reaching impact on human civilization, facilitating the growth of trade and commerce, the spread of ideas and knowledge, and the exploration and expansion of human knowledge. The legacy of sailing can be seen in many aspects of modern society, from the shipping industry to the global economy, and it continues to play a critical role in shaping the course of human history.

Modern Sailing

Modern sailboat
The use of synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, and Kevlar in modern sail construction are stronger, lighter, and more durable than traditional materials such as cotton and canvas.

While the basic principles of sailing have remained largely unchanged for thousands of years, modern sailing has seen a number of important innovations and developments. One of the most significant of these is the use of synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, and Kevlar in sail construction. These materials are stronger, lighter, and more durable than traditional materials such as cotton and canvas, allowing modern sailboats to be faster and more efficient than their ancient counterparts.

Another important development in modern sailing is the use of technology to aid in navigation and communication. Global Positioning System (GPS) technology allows sailors to determine their precise position on the globe, while radio and satellite communications make it possible to stay in touch with shore-based support teams and other sailors on the water.

Modern sailing has also seen the development of a number of specialized sailing classes and events, such as the America’s Cup, which has been held since 1851 and is widely regarded as the oldest and most prestigious sailing race in the world. Other popular sailing events include the Volvo Ocean Race, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, and the Transpacific Yacht Race.

America's Cup Boat "flying"
The America’s Cup AC72 class of boats use foils to sail faster than the speed of the wind.

In addition to these developments, modern sailing has also seen the emergence of a number of environmental and sustainability initiatives. The use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power is becoming increasingly common in modern sailboats, and many sailors are actively working to reduce their environmental impact by using sustainable materials and reducing waste and pollution.

Overall, modern sailing continues to be a popular and important activity, with a rich history and a bright future. Whether for sport, recreation, or commerce, sailing remains a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of human beings and a testament to the enduring power and beauty of the sea.

Sailing is Amazing

The birth of seafaring and the invention of sailing represent a critical turning point in human history, marking the moment when humans first began to explore and exploit the vast resources of the world’s oceans. The origins of sailing are shrouded in mystery and myth, but archaeological evidence suggests that humans have been using boats and rafts to navigate the seas for tens of thousands of years.

Despite its ancient roots, sailing continues to play a vital role in modern society, facilitating trade and commerce, enabling exploration and discovery, and providing a source of recreation and pleasure for millions of people around the world. From the early seafarers who braved the dangers of the open ocean in search of new lands and resources to the modern sailors who use cutting-edge technology and innovative materials to push the limits of what is possible on the water, the legacy of sailing continues to inspire and amaze us.

As we continue to explore and exploit the oceans of the world, it is important that we do so in a responsible and sustainable manner, recognizing the importance of these fragile ecosystems and the critical role they play in maintaining the health and well-being of our planet. Whether as sailors, scientists, or simply concerned citizens, we all have a role to play in protecting and preserving the world’s oceans for future generations.

Off the Beaten Path: A Beginner’s Guide to Overlanding

What's Overlanding?
What’s Overlanding? We like to think of overlanding as car camping without the campgrounds.

Have you ever wanted to experience the freedom of the open road and explore the world on your own terms? If so, overlanding may be the perfect way for you to do it. What’s overlanding? Overlanding is a type of travel that involves self-reliant, off-road adventure in a vehicle, usually a four-wheel drive. This type of travel allows you to experience remote and untouched destinations, away from the typical tourist crowds.

Overlanding has been gaining popularity in recent years, and for good reason. It offers an opportunity to explore new places, meet new people, and challenge yourself in ways you never thought possible. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at what overlanding is, what it involves, and how to get started. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or someone looking for a new adventure, this guide will give you the information you need to plan your own overlanding trip. So buckle up and let’s hit the road!

Understanding Overlanding

What’s overlanding? Overlanding is a form of outdoor exploration that involves self-reliant, off-road adventure in a vehicle. Unlike traditional road trips, overlanding often involves remote and challenging terrains that require a certain level of skill and experience. The goal of overlanding is to explore new and untouched destinations, away from the typical tourist crowds.

We like to think of overlanding as car camping without the campgrounds. How far off the beaten path you travel to get to your camping destination is up to you and the ability of your vehicle. While similar in many ways to car camping, there are some key characteristics of overlanding that differentiate it from other forms of outdoor exploration:

Self-reliance

Overlanding requires you to be self-sufficient, meaning you need to carry all the supplies and equipment you’ll need for the journey. This includes everything from food and water to shelter and tools. Another aspect you’ll need to consider when overlanding is how you’ll use the bathroom while in remote spaces. For more information, check out our article on bathroom off-grid options.

Overlanding in remote places
Overlanding allows you to enjoy the outdoors in remote spaces not often visited
Off-road travel

Overlanding often involves traveling on unpaved roads and rugged terrains that require a four-wheel drive or other specialized vehicle. All-terrain tires are also a good idea.  But even if you don’t plan to tackle difficult terrain while overlanding, a vehicle with high ground clearance is a good idea.

Remote destinations

Overlanding is all about exploring new and untouched destinations that are far away from the typical tourist hotspots. This often means traveling to remote areas that are difficult to access. The difficulty in accessing these areas is what makes overlanding so special – being able to enjoy wild spaces that not many others have.

Adventure and challenge

Overlanding is not for the faint of heart. It requires specialized equipment, a certain level of skill and experience, and a willingness to take on challenges and overcome obstacles. The adventure lies in getting to your remote destination and learning to appreciate your ability to be self-sufficient.

While overlanding has gained popularity in recent years, it’s not a new concept. In fact, overlanding has been around for centuries, with early explorers and pioneers traveling across vast distances in search of new lands and opportunities.

Planning an Overlanding Trip

Planning an overlanding trip requires careful consideration of several key factors. Here are some important things to keep in mind when planning your trip:

  1. Choosing a destination: The first step in planning an overlanding trip is to choose a destination. Consider what type of terrain and scenery you’re interested in exploring, and whether you want to stay close to home or venture further afield. We like to use Campendium to find free camping areas on public lands in the US.
  2. Deciding on the route: Once you’ve chosen a destination, it’s time to decide on the route you’ll take. Consider factors such as the terrain, the time of year, and the availability of fuel and supplies. It’s a good idea to also consider a backup route or two in case your primary route choice is closed or unpassable.
  3. Considering the time of year: The time of year you plan to travel can have a big impact on your overlanding trip. For example, if you plan to travel during the rainy season, you’ll need to take extra precautions to ensure your vehicle is equipped to handle muddy roads. Overlanding during the winter season can provide amazing opportunities to experience nature in rugged isolation, but you’ll need extra preparation to make sure you stay warm enough.
  4. Planning for fuel, food, and water: You’ll need to carry all the supplies you’ll need for the journey, including fuel, food, and water. Make sure to plan ahead and carry enough supplies to last the duration of your trip.
  5. Preparing the vehicle: Overlanding requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle that’s equipped to handle rough terrain and challenging conditions. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition and properly equipped with the necessary gear, such as all-terrain tires, a winch, and recovery equipment.

By carefully planning your overlanding trip, you can ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Proper preparation is key whenever you travel away from the security of stores, gas stations, and emergency services.

Overlanding rooftop tent ona jeep
Whether you choose to equip your vehicle with a rooftop tent or prefer to pitch a traditional tent once you arrive at your destination, a weath of overlanding equipment options are available.

Essential Gear for Overlanding

When embarking on an overlanding trip, it’s essential to have the right gear to ensure your safety and comfort. Here are some essential items you should consider bringing on your trip:

  1. Navigation tools: When traveling off-road, it’s important to have reliable navigation tools, such as a GPS device or map and compass.
  2. Communication devices: In case of emergencies, it’s important to have a reliable means of communication, such as a satellite phone or radio. We recommend carrying a satellite communicator when traveling to remote places without cell phone coverage.
  3. Recovery gear: Overlanding often involves traversing rugged terrain, so it’s important to have recovery gear, such as a winch, recovery straps, and a shovel, to help you get unstuck if you get stuck in mud, sand, or snow. The level of recovery gear you’ll need will be related to how deep into the wild you plan to go. What’s overlanding without getting stuck from time to time? When it happens, make sure you have the tools and equipment you’ll need to get back on the trail.
  4. Camping equipment: When overlanding, you’ll need to carry all the equipment you’ll need for camping, such as a tent, sleeping bag, and camping stove. The overlanding industry has exploded in recent years with a variety of tools and equipment made for overland camping. Whether you choose to equip your vehicle with a rooftop tent or prefer to pitch a traditional tent once you arrive at your destination, a myriad of options are available to fit your preferences. We’ve purchased a lot of great and affordable overlanding gear from Overland Vehicle Systems in the past.
  5. Tools and spare parts: It’s important to carry a basic toolkit and spare parts for your vehicle, such as spare tires, oil, and fuses, in case of mechanical issues.
  6. First aid kit: Accidents can happen, so it’s important to carry a well-stocked first aid kit that includes essentials like bandages, antiseptic, and pain relievers. We like the carry the Mountain Series Explorer Medical Kit along on our trips overland.
  7. Water and food storage: Overlanding often takes you to remote areas, so it’s important to carry enough food and water for the duration of your trip, as well as storage containers to keep them fresh.

By packing these essential items, you’ll be well-prepared for your overlanding trip and can focus on enjoying the adventure. Making sure you have the right gear can save you from disaster while off the grid.

Safety Precautions

Overlanding can be an exciting and rewarding adventure, but it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some important safety considerations for overlanding:

  1. Vehicle maintenance: Before embarking on your trip, make sure your vehicle is in good condition and has been properly maintained. Check the tires, brakes, and fluids, and make any necessary repairs or adjustments.
  2. Driving cautiously: When overlanding, it’s important to drive cautiously and be aware of your surroundings. Stay alert for hazards like rocks, mud, or water crossings, and take your time when navigating difficult terrain.
  3. Packing essential safety gear: Make sure to pack essential safety gear, such as a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and emergency communication devices, to help you stay safe in case of emergencies.
  4. Knowing the local laws and customs: When traveling in a foreign country or unfamiliar territory, it’s important to understand the local laws and customs to avoid any legal or cultural misunderstandings.
  5. Being aware of wildlife: When traveling in remote areas, it’s important to be aware of the local wildlife and take necessary precautions to avoid any dangerous encounters. Be careful not to disturb the habitats of the local wildlife as you’re passing through.
  6. Keeping in touch with others: Make sure to keep in touch with family or friends back home and let them know your itinerary and expected return date. This way, they can check in on you and alert authorities if necessary.

By taking these safety precautions, you can help ensure that your overlanding trip ends with a successful return home and many memorable moments.

Overlanding Etiquette

Beautiful view above the clouds while overlanding.
Overlanding provides unique opportunities to experience nature in its fullest beauty.

Overlanding is a unique way of exploring the outdoors, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a free-for-all. Here are some important overlanding etiquette tips to keep in mind:

  1. Stay on designated trails: It’s important to stay on designated trails to avoid damaging the environment and preserve the natural beauty of the area.
  2. Leave no trace: When camping, make sure to pack out all your trash and leave the campsite as you found it. This helps preserve the natural environment for others to enjoy.
  3. Respect private property: Make sure to respect private property and obtain permission from landowners before entering their property.
  4. Be mindful of noise: When camping in remote areas, it’s important to be mindful of noise levels and avoid disturbing the peace and quiet of the area.
  5. Yield to other vehicles: When encountering other vehicles on the trail, yield to the vehicle going uphill, as they have the right of way.
  6. Be considerate of other campers: When camping near others, be considerate of other campers and keep noise levels down, especially at night.

By following these overlanding etiquette tips, you can help preserve the natural environment and ensure a positive experience for all.

Get Out There and Overland

Overlanding is a unique and exciting way to explore the outdoors, but it’s important to approach it with the right mindset and be prepared for the challenges it may present. By understanding the basics of overlanding, planning your trip carefully, and bringing the right gear, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Remember to take necessary safety precautions, follow overlanding etiquette, and be respectful of the natural environment. With the right approach, overlanding can be an unforgettable adventure that allows you to connect with nature and explore the world off the beaten path.

Flexible Solar Panels: Which Perform Best?

Flexible Solar Panels Test

When it comes to solar panels, there are two main types available in the market: rigid solar panels and flexible solar panels. Rigid panels are built with a solid frame that can withstand harsher conditions for longer. Flexible solar panels, on the other hand, are made up of thin-film solar cells that are coated on a flexible material. This thinner, flexible design equals a lightweight and portable panel ideal for outdoor recreation applications such as RVs, boats, and for camping.

We recently added 400 watts of solar panels to the canvas bimini cover of our 46ft sailboat. To find the best flexible solar panel for our project, we purchased three flexible panel models and tested them in identical conditions to see which performed best.

The Candidates

Our search for the best flexible solar panel started by identifying three top-selling flexible panels available on Amazon. We chose a model from Topsolar as well as two different models (white and black) produced by Renogy. Each panel was rated at 100w of power production.

Topsolar is a brand we’ve started to see more of on the market. Their panels have solid reviews and are some of the least expensive options available.  It was important for us to compare Topsolar’s panel to the more mid-market offerings from Renogy to consider which panel is the best value.

We’ve highlighted Renogy’s 200Ah LiFePo4 Battery and Battery Monitor in the past here at Outward Spaces.  Renogy doesn’t pay us to review their products – we just have genuinely had great experiences with their line of quality and affordable off-grid gear. If you chose to buy Renogy’s solar products, make sure to use coupon code “RenogySolar10” to save 10% off of your purchase.

The Flexible Solar Panels We Tested
Topsolar Flexible Solar Panel 100W 24V/12V Monocrystalline Bendable - 100 Watt 12Volt Semi-Flexible Mono Solar Panels Charger Off-Grid for RV Boat Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces White
Renogy Solar Panel 100W 12V Lightweight Semi Flexible Black Division Monocrystalline Bendable Mono Off-Grid Charger for RV Boat Van Car Uneven Surfaces, LTWT-Flex
Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Off-Grid Charger for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces
Brand:
Topsolar
Renogy
Renogy
Model Number:
T05-FSPM100-1
RSP100DL-36-US
RNG-100DB-H-US
Dimensions:
45.6 x 16.5 x 0.1 in
43 x 23 x 0.1 in
48.0 x 21.6 x 0.08 in
Weight:
4.2 lbs
5.3 lbs
4.2 lbs
Topsolar Flexible Solar Panel 100W 24V/12V Monocrystalline Bendable - 100 Watt 12Volt Semi-Flexible Mono Solar Panels Charger Off-Grid for RV Boat Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces White
Brand:
Topsolar
Model Number:
T05-FSPM100-1
Dimensions:
45.6 x 16.5 x 0.1 in
Weight:
4.2 lbs
Renogy Solar Panel 100W 12V Lightweight Semi Flexible Black Division Monocrystalline Bendable Mono Off-Grid Charger for RV Boat Van Car Uneven Surfaces, LTWT-Flex
Brand:
Renogy
Model Number:
RSP100DL-36-US
Dimensions:
43 x 23 x 0.1 in
Weight:
5.3 lbs
Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Off-Grid Charger for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces
Brand:
Renogy
Model Number:
RNG-100DB-H-US
Dimensions:
48.0 x 21.6 x 0.08 in
Weight:
4.2 lbs

The Unboxing

Flexible solar panels unboxing

All three of our flexible solar panels arrived in similar packaging – in a slim rectangular box with branding and model numbers printed on them. Each was packed with styrofoam corner and side protectors to protect the panels from impact during shipping.  All panels arrived in perfect condition – without any damage from the shipping process.

Textured Surface of a Flexible Solar Panel
A close-up of the textured surface of the Topsolar 100w Flexible Solar Panel

As expected, each panel was of a similar size. The Topsolar panel was the skinniest at only 16.5 inches wide and the white Renogy panel was the longest at 48 inches long.  All were of similar thickness – around .1 of an inch. All three panels came with a textured surface on the top of the panels. This textured surface reduces the reflection of light whilst maximizing the absorption of light from every possible angle. This ensures high performance in low light or cloudy conditions, or when the light falls at an angle (in the morning, evening, or winter).

Interestingly, the Topsolar panel has a single junction box in the top middle of the panel while both Renogy panels have two separate junction boxes for positive and negative connections.  All connections on these panels came with MC4 connectors and around 18 inches of cable between the junction box and the MC4 ends.

Each panel included 6 grommets (1 in each corner and 2 in the middle/sides) for mounting. We liked the look of the black Renogy panel the best.  The black panel is slick and more cohesive looking in our opinion – though we do have some concerns that the all-black panel may attract more heat than the white panels.

The Test

Flexible Solar Panel Test

To put the panels to the test, we decided to test each panel under identical conditions to see which one produced the most wattage.  To do this, we set up a scrap piece of plywood propped to a 20-degree angle and pointed toward the sun. We used our Golabs i200 Portable Power Station with it’s included MC4 solar connectors to receive the charging input of each panel.  The i200 includes a wattage readout on its display that measures both incoming and outgoing wattage into the power station.  Without any discharging sources plugged in, we could measure the solar input easily on the i200. We also discharged the i200 to 4 out of 5 bars to ensure its charge controller would charge the device’s battery.

We tested all 3 panels during an early September midday in Phoenix, AZ.  While not the peak of summer, the sun was shining bright and provided optimal conditions to compare each panel’s output.  The sky was clear without clouds to affect our testing between panel swaps. In our testing, we set each panel on the angled plywood and connected it to the i200.  We left each panel connected for enough time (2-3 minutes) for the wattage reading to stabilize – giving us its “peak output” under our testing conditions.

The Results

Panel 1: Topsolar 100 Watt 12V Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel – 62.4 watts peak output

Topsolar Flexible Solar Panel Testing


Panel 2: Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Black Division Lightweight Monocrystalline Solar Panel – 64.4 watts peak output

Renogy Black Flexible Solar Panel Testing


Panel 3: Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel – 57.4 watts peak output

Renogy White Flexible Solar Panel Testing


Conclusion and Our Pick

The panels all produced much less than their rated wattage.  Only seeing 57-64 watts from 100-watt solar panels is disheartening. It’s important to remember though that the wattage rating of solar panels is under ideal conditions – perfect sunlight, temperature, and angle.  In many ways, the 100-watt rating is a hypothetical rating of what the solar panel “can produce”.  In most real-world scenarios, you’ll never see the full-rated wattage from a solar panel.  But this is exactly why we wanted to test 3 solar panels before purchasing 4 of them for the solar system installation on our boat.  We wanted to purchase the panel that got us the most watts relative to other panels.

With this in mind, the clear winner was the Renogy black panel with 64.4 watts of peak output.  As noted above, we liked the looks of the black panel best and were pleasantly surprised to find it performed the best of the three.  We also liked it’s size format the best – being somewhere in the middle between the other panels in both length and width.  At 5.3 lbs, it is a pound heavier than the other panels, but in our case, these 4 extra pounds created by installing 4 of these was acceptable.  We wanted to install the best flexible solar panel – the one that produced the most watts. After our testing, we picked up 3 more of the Renogy black panels and have since installed them on top of our bimini on our sailboat.  They are happily producing power to recharge our batteries and hopefully will for years to come.

The Topsolar panel was perhaps the most surprising panel in our testing.  Producing 62.4 watts at its peak (just 2 watts less than the top panel), the Topsolar is the most affordable panel.  The Topsolar panel produces the most watts per dollar and if you’re on a tight budget, these panels may just be your best bet.

Overall, we were disappointed with the Renogy white panel.  Producing a peak output of only 57.4 watts meant it produced 11% less power than the Renogy black panel.  We expected the peak output of these panels to vary by a few watts.  But a 7-watt difference between 2 panels produced by the same manufacturer was surprising. The Renogy white panel is a bit less expensive than the Renogy black panel, so it may come out in the wash at a cheaper price, but if you’re trying to get the most watts out of a 100-watt flexible panel, stick to the Renogy black panel over the white one.

In our test, we found the Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Black Division Lightweight Monocrystalline Solar Panel to be the best flexible solar panel. An all-black panel, it looks great too. Under our testing conditions, it produced 4% more power than the Topsolar panel and 11% more power than the Renogy white panel. While it’s the most expensive panel of the 3 we tested, you won’t be sorry spending a few extra dollars on this panel to maximize your solar output under all conditions.

Get 10% off your purchase of Renogy’s solar products at renogy.com! Use coupon code “RenogySolar10” to save.

Interested in adding a solar system to your RV, van, boat, or off-grid cabin? Check out our guide to Designing a DIY Off Grid Solar System.

Why Boondocking is the Ultimate Adventure for Nature Lovers

Dispersed Campsites in the Valley of the Gods
The Valley of the Gods in Southern Utah is a breathtaking location with plenty of dispersed camping.

Boondocking, also known as dispersed camping, is the act of camping outside of designated campgrounds or RV parks. It involves finding a spot in a remote area, away from the hustle and bustle of civilization, and setting up camp. Boondocking offers a unique and unforgettable experience for nature lovers who want to explore the great outdoors and immerse themselves in the beauty of the natural world.

Boondocking is a different experience than traditional camping, as it allows you to truly disconnect from the stresses of everyday life and reconnect with nature. In this article, we’ll explore why boondocking is the ultimate adventure for nature lovers, and why you should consider it for your next camping trip. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a newbie, boondocking offers a range of benefits that you won’t find in traditional campgrounds or RV parks.

So, pack your bags, grab your gear, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. In the following sections, we’ll discuss the advantages of boondocking, the freedom it offers, and the best ways to prepare for your next boondocking trip. Whether you want to camp in a national park or explore remote areas, boondocking is the perfect way to experience the natural world up close and personal.

Boondocking vs. Traditional Camping

While traditional camping involves staying in designated campgrounds or RV parks, boondocking is all about getting off the beaten path and finding your own spot to camp. Here are some of the key differences between boondocking and traditional camping:

Location: Boondocking offers the opportunity to camp in remote areas that are not accessible by traditional campgrounds or RV parks. This means you can experience the beauty of untouched wilderness and enjoy stunning views that are not available to those who stay in traditional campgrounds.

Cost: Traditional campgrounds and RV parks often charge fees for camping, while boondocking is usually free of charge. This means that boondocking can be a great way to save money on your camping trip, especially if you plan on camping for an extended period.

Amenities: Traditional campgrounds and RV parks often offer amenities such as electricity, water, and sewage hookups, as well as showers, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. Boondocking, on the other hand, requires you to be self-sufficient, meaning you’ll need to bring your own water, power, and waste management systems. This can be a challenge for some, but it’s also an opportunity to disconnect from modern conveniences and reconnect with nature.

Regulations: Traditional campgrounds and RV parks are subject to regulations and rules, while boondocking offers more freedom in terms of where and how you camp. However, it’s important to remember that there are still rules and regulations that you must follow when boondocking, such as respecting private property and leaving no trace.

While traditional camping can be a great option for some, boondocking offers a unique and adventurous experience for nature lovers who want to explore the wilderness on their own terms. In the following sections, we’ll discuss the advantages of boondocking in more detail, and provide tips for a successful boondocking trip.

The Freedom of Boondocking

Dispersed Camping in Marble Canyon near Lee's Ferry in Arizona
Dispersed Camping in Marble Canyon near Lee’s Ferry in Arizona

One of the biggest draws of boondocking is the freedom it offers. Unlike traditional camping, which requires you to stay in designated campgrounds or RV parks, boondocking allows you to camp wherever you want (within legal limits). This means you can truly explore and experience the wilderness on your own terms.

Here are some of the key benefits of the freedom of boondocking:

Flexibility: With boondocking, you have the flexibility to choose where and when you camp. You can explore remote areas that are not accessible by traditional campgrounds or RV parks, and you can stay for as long as you want. This allows you to fully immerse yourself in nature and take your time to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.

Privacy: Boondocking also offers more privacy than traditional camping. Instead of being packed into a crowded campground or RV park, you can choose a secluded spot and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. This can be especially appealing for those who want to escape the noise and stress of everyday life.

Adventure: Boondocking is an adventure in itself. You never know what you’ll find when you venture off the beaten path, and the thrill of exploration can be exhilarating. Whether you’re hiking to a hidden waterfall, spotting wildlife in their natural habitat, or simply enjoying the stunning views, boondocking offers endless opportunities for adventure and discovery.

Of course, with this freedom comes responsibility. It’s important to respect the environment and follow the rules and regulations of the area you’re camping in. In the following sections, we’ll discuss the best ways to find the perfect spot for boondocking, as well as tips for staying safe and comfortable while camping off the grid.

Boondocking in Remote Areas

One of the greatest benefits of boondocking is the ability to camp in remote areas that are not accessible by traditional campgrounds or RV parks. However, camping in remote areas also comes with its own set of challenges and considerations.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re interested in boondocking in a remote area:

Research the area: Before heading out, make sure to research the area where you plan to camp. Look for information on road conditions, weather patterns, and potential hazards. Additionally, make sure you have a map or GPS device to help you navigate.

Be prepared: Camping in remote areas means you won’t have access to amenities like running water, electricity, or cell service. Make sure you have enough food, water, and supplies for your trip, and bring appropriate camping gear for the weather and terrain.

Practice Leave No Trace: It’s important to leave the area as you found it when boondocking in remote areas. Pack out all of your trash, avoid damaging the natural landscape, and be mindful of wildlife in the area.

Stay safe: Boondocking in remote areas can be a wonderful adventure, but it’s important to stay safe. Be aware of wildlife in the area, and make sure to follow all safety guidelines provided by the park or forest service. Additionally, make sure someone knows your itinerary and expected return time.

Boondocking in remote areas can be an incredible way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and truly immerse yourself in nature. Just remember to do your research, be prepared, and stay safe.

Finding Areas to Boondock

Google Maps: You can often find dispersed camping spots by zooming into your target locations and looking for clearly established areas where people have camped in the past.  Dispersed camping areas often exist near established campgrounds – so start your Google maps searches there.

Word of Mouth: Talking with other dispersed campers is often the best way to find new boondocking areas.  Some of the most interesting dispersed sites we have experienced have been discovered from the advice of friends.

Campendium: Our favorite online resource to find free dispersed campsites is Campendium – a website and mobile app with listings of campgrounds and RV parks.  Campendium is a community-driven site where users upload and review campsites they’ve visited. Campendium’s search functionality is particularly useful in searching for free camping spots as is their “Free Camping” section. User feedback and reviews of dispersed camping spots often provide useful information about getting to the locations along with details about the destinations.

Preparing for Boondocking

Dispersed Camping in the Coconino National Forest near Williams, AZ
Camping with the Outward Overland Trailer in the Coconino National Forest near Williams, AZ

Boondocking can be an amazing adventure, but it requires more preparation and self-sufficiency than traditional camping. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a successful boondocking trip:

Choose the right vehicle: The vehicle you choose for boondocking will depend on your personal preferences and needs. A four-wheel drive truck or SUV with high clearance is often preferred, but some people choose to camp in smaller vehicles like vans or even cars. Make sure your vehicle is reliable and has enough storage space for your gear and supplies.

Invest in solar power: Since boondocking means camping without access to electricity, many people choose to invest in solar power. Solar panels can be mounted on the roof of your vehicle or on portable devices, providing you with enough power to charge your devices and run small appliances like a refrigerator or fan. If you’re interested in adding solar to your boondocking setup, check out our Off Grid Solar System series for details on how to setup your system.

Bring enough supplies: When boondocking, you’ll need to bring enough supplies to last for the duration of your trip. This includes food, water, fuel, and any other supplies you’ll need for cooking, cleaning, and staying comfortable. For the best boondocking options, check out our recent article about using the bathroom while camping.

Have a backup plan: Even the most well-planned trips can experience unexpected challenges. Make sure you have a backup plan in case of inclement weather, vehicle breakdowns, or other emergencies. We recommend mapping out a few dispersed camping locations in the area you are traveling to beforehand.  If your primary area is closed or unreachable, it’s great to have a backup location planned.

Practice Leave No Trace: It’s important to leave the area as you found it when boondocking. Pack out all of your trash, avoid damaging the natural landscape, and be mindful of wildlife in the area.

Preparing for boondocking takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it for the freedom and adventure that come with camping off the grid. By choosing the right vehicle, investing in solar power, and bringing enough supplies, you can enjoy a safe and comfortable boondocking trip.

Leave No Trace

One of the most important principles of boondocking is to leave the area as you found it. This means practicing Leave No Trace principles, which help minimize your impact on the environment and preserve the natural beauty of the wilderness. Here are some key Leave No Trace principles to keep in mind when boondocking:

Plan ahead and prepare: Before heading out, research the area and make sure you have enough supplies and gear to minimize your impact on the environment.

Travel and camp on durable surfaces: When driving and setting up camp, stick to established roads and campsites to avoid damaging the natural landscape.

Dispose of waste properly: Pack out all of your trash and waste, including food scraps and toilet paper. If you need to use the bathroom, bury your waste at least six inches deep and at least 200 feet from water sources and campsites.

Leave what you find: Don’t disturb the natural environment by taking rocks, plants, or other natural objects as souvenirs.

Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance and avoid feeding or disturbing them.

Be considerate of other visitors: Keep noise levels down and respect other visitors’ privacy and space.

By practicing Leave No Trace principles, you can help preserve the natural beauty of the wilderness for future generations to enjoy. Remember, it’s up to all of us to protect the environment and ensure that these wild places remain pristine and beautiful for years to come.

Conclusion

Boondocking is a unique and rewarding way to experience the beauty of the natural world. With the right preparation, you can enjoy the freedom and adventure of camping off the grid, while minimizing your impact on the environment. By choosing the right vehicle, investing in solar power, and bringing enough supplies, you can explore remote areas and national parks with ease.

Remember to always practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the natural environment. With a little effort and mindfulness, you can enjoy the ultimate adventure for nature lovers. So, grab your gear, hit the road, and get ready to experience the wonders of boondocking!

Desert Dispersed Camping near Phoenix, AZ
Dispersed camping in the desert near Phoenix, AZ

How to Poop Properly….While Camping

Pooping while camping
For most people, “dropping a deuce” in the great outdoors can be an intimidating and uncomfortable experience.

Camping is one of the best ways to connect with nature, spend quality time with friends and family, and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, as enjoyable as camping can be, it also comes with its fair share of challenges, and one of the biggest can be going to the bathroom. While it may not be the most glamorous aspect of camping, knowing how to poop properly outdoors is crucial for keeping your trips enjoyable.

For most people, “dropping a deuce” in the great outdoors can be an intimidating and uncomfortable experience. But with the right knowledge and preparation, it doesn’t have to be. In this post, we’ll provide you with some options and advice on how to poop properly when camping.

So, whether you’re an experienced camper or a first-timer, read on to learn how to create your own campsite bathroom in the great outdoors.

Camping without a Restroom Nearby

Most state and federal campgrounds have bathrooms available onsite.  If you are just getting into camping, we recommend starting your camping experience at these types of campgrounds.  Campground bathrooms are not luxurious, but they usually have a toilet to sit on and toilet paper nearby. Pooping in these locations, while usually not particularly pleasurable, is pretty easy.

Some of our best experiences camping, however, have been at dispersed camping sites outside of a designated campground.  These “boondocking” sites typically have no services or facilities. Dispersed campsites are free, private, and offer the freedom to camp on your own terms.  But you’ll have to poop “on your own terms” as well. With some planning and preparation, you can create your own perfect campsite bathroom.

Here are Some of the Best Campsite Bathroom Options

Option 1: Dig a Hole

Humans have been “busting a grumpy” outdoors since the beginning of time. While the modern man is used to his porcelain throne, animals (humans and otherwise) have always been able to take care of their business with a simple hole. If this is your chosen method, here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: Find the Right Spot

Finding the right spot to relieve yourself when camping is essential for both your privacy and the environment. The following are some guidelines to follow when looking for a suitable location:

  • Choose an area at least 200 feet away from water sources. You don’t want to contaminate nearby lakes, rivers, or streams.
  • Find a private area away from campsites and hiking trails. Look for a place that’s hidden from view to ensure privacy.
Step 2: Dig a Hole

A hole allows you to bury your poop once you’re done – keeping smells down and preserving the environment for others.  Here are some tips for digging your hole:

  • Dig a hole that is at least 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches wide. This depth will help to ensure that the waste is fully covered and won’t attract any animals or insects.
  • Pack a shovel along with your camping gear. Digging can be tricky without the right gear. We recommend a folding camping shovel like this one.
Step 3: Squat & Clean

Squatting is the most natural and hygienic position for relieving yourself. We go into the details of why in this article, but I’m sure you can do the math. Here are some guidelines to follow for the proper squatting and cleaning technique:

  • Squat with the right posture. Find a stable position with your feet shoulder-width apart, and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure your weight is balanced and your knees are slightly bent. Use your thighs and lower body to support your weight and maintain balance.
  • Use a rock or a log as a prop if you prefer. If you find it difficult to balance, you can use props such as rocks or logs to support your feet. This will help you to maintain a comfortable and stable position.
  • Wipe with toilet paper or biodegradable wipes. Make sure to pack your toilet paper or wipes out with you to keep the environment as pristine as possible.
Step 4: Bury your Business

When you’re done, make sure to bury your business properly.  Covering it up properly will prevent humans from accidentally stumbling into it and animals from digging it up. It also adheres to a “Leave No Trace” mentality.

If you choose the “Dig a Hole” option, make sure to bring along a camping shovel.  Camping shovels fold up when not in use to pack and store more easily. Here’s one that can be purchased on Amazon that we recommend:

Option 2: Poop in a Bucket

Luggable Loo
The Luggable Loo is a bucket and seat lid that seals tightly when not in use and when traveling.

If you are looking for a slightly more civilized campsite bathroom option, a 5-gallon bucket toilet might be the choice for you. A bucket toilet allows you to bring a dedicated toilet to your campsite that when you’re done can be emptied into a trash can – allowing you to safely dispose of your waste.

The idea is simple, the bucket is lined with a plastic bag (or two for double protection) and sawdust is added to the bucket.  Each time the bucket is used, a handful of sawdust is sprinkled on top keeping smells to a minimum. When the bucket is full, the bags can be removed and disposed of. The bucket is relined with bags and sawdust for more use.

The bucket toilet method is simple and easy to maintain. With the sawdust (or your absorbent, odor-reducing material of choice), smells really are kept under control. At the end of your trip, the plastic bag can be thrown away – keeping maintenance to a minimum.

You can create your own bucket toilet with any 5-gallon bucket, but to make it more comfortable during use, we recommend picking up a toilet seat lid to attach to the top – making your bucket into a proper (and comfortable) toilet.

If you are looking for an entire bucket toilet solution, we highly recommend the Luggable Loo – a bucket and seat lid that seals tightly when not in use and when traveling. In our experience, we’ve found the pluggable loo to be comfortable and we appreciate having a dedicated bucket for camping-only use.

For privacy, a small toilet tent (like this one) can be used to create a dedicated “bathroom” at your campsite and to allow people to “pinch a loaf” without worrying about others seeing. Adding a privacy tent to your bucket toilet setup really makes pooping at your dispersed campsite easier and more enjoyable.

Option 3: Bring along a Chemical Toilet

Chemical toilets have been around for years and they basically have the same design.  Flushing water is held along with the seat and bowl in the upper compartment of the two-part unit. When flushed, the toilet empties the water along with your waste into the storage containing the lower part of the unit.

When full, the lower storage tank can be detached, drained, and rinsed.  Chemical waste storage solutions are used in the storage compartment to minimize odors and to help dissolve the waste for disposal.

Of the options above, a chemical toilet is the closest experience to a home toilet.  It uses water like your bowl at home and is flushed when done using it.  The chemical additives provide the ability to store your waste without odors for the duration of your trip.

The cons of this method are the following:

  • Chemical toilets are expensive.
  • For them to work properly you need to also purchase chemicals.
  • They can leak over time – creating a mess.
  • They are a lot to lug around.
  • They are often low to the ground and uncomfortable.
  • You need to find a dump station to properly dispose of your waste and the chemicals involved.

We know of boondocking campers who swear by their chemical toilets and others that just see them as an unnecessary hassle.  The biggest drawback to this option is the find a proper dump station to dispose of the waste. Chemical toilets should NEVER be emptied into the ground or down a standard drain.

If you prefer a chemical toilet for your camp pooping, here’s a good option to consider:

What about Peeing?

For the half of the population with aiming capabilities, peeing outdoors is easy. Find a nice private spot away from water sources, campsites, and trails and get it done.

For the other half of the population, there is a great little device that can make peeing outdoors much easier and more comfortable. A pee funnel can be used to control your stream and can even be used while standing if desired.  While it seems silly at first, those on our camping trips who have used a pee funnel have had great experiences with it.

Conclusion

Camping is all about enjoying the beauty of nature, and it’s essential to preserve the environment for future generations to enjoy. However you prefer to poop in nature, please remember the following:

  • Leave no trace: Always pack out your trash and dispose of it properly. Do not leave any waste behind, including toilet paper, wipes, or plastic bags.
  • Respect wildlife: Do not disturb wildlife. Keep your distance from animals and don’t use the bathroom near their homes.
  • Respect water sources: Help keep water sources uncontaminated by doing your business away from water sources.

Camping is a great way to enjoy nature and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. By planning how you’ll poop and being properly prepared, you’ll create a campsite bathroom that not only ensures a pleasant camping experience for yourself but also will help to preserve the environment for future generations. Happy camping!